After a two hour journey, the boys stepped off the minibus and found themselves in the middle of the woods; the sun was shining and the trees looked majestic. A promising start to their adventure!
Barney, the bush camp leader, welcomed everyone, gave a few important safety rules and then it was time to set off deeper into camp.
Camp consisted of: several tents with a main yurt and camp fire in the middle; a small outside kitchen, a washing up area and, of course, the delightful portable toilets. Boys were introduced to their tribe leaders and got straight into their first activity of making fire. They were taught about the three elements of the fire triangle and about the different ways of starting a fire from scratch. Each tribe was tasked with finding different size twigs (matchstick, finger, thumb and wrist size) and then proceeded to light their fires with the help of their leaders. They knew they needed to make a fire in order to cook their lunch, so the pressure was on! Once the first sparks were lit, the fire started to grow and the boys enjoyed building their fire large enough for their burgers to cook on.
The afternoon activity was shelter building – one of the highlights of the stay for most. It involved finding branches, foliage, moss, decorative items and sweeping a whole area clear, as well as then building a structure that was strong enough to stay up, without any big gaps that would let the cold air in. Quite a challenge!
After a delicious dinner of pasta Bolognese, followed by ‘cow pat brownies’, the boys played evening games, sang around the camp fire and then got ready for bed in their tents. Having to spit in a hole in the ground when brushing teeth was certainly a novelty!
Some brave boys chose to sleep in their homemade shelters, in order to be as close as possible to all the elements and wildlife. Others tucked up with their torch and cuddly toy in the warmth of their tents. All in all, they settled well and soon went to sleep. The bush camp leaders all commented that this group of boys were very independent for their age, which was pleasing to hear.
With sunrise, the boys seemed to rise too - a nice early start for all. The boys worked well to clear their tents, pack their bags, brush teeth and get dressed all in time for breakfast at 8am. The big cooked breakfast was sausages and toast grilled on the fire, as well as hash browns and baked beans – delicious!
Another action packed day lay ahead, including plenty of games in the woods, a wilderness trail, trap making and bush camp challenges to finish.
It was sad having to say goodbye to the tribe leaders after lunch, the boys had bonded well with them and been thoroughly enthused and inspired by all their knowledge. Then it was time to pack up and leave ‘no trace’ in camp behind them. Once on the minibuses, many boys quickly fell fast asleep for the whole journey home.
It certainly was an exciting and action-packed couple of days away from home and the boys thrived in their new environment. They learned many life skills that they will hopefully remember for a long time to come. Our school values of independence, kindness, collaboration, resilience, hard work and problem solving were all put to the test and we felt extremely proud of the boys’ achievements and attitudes towards each other.
What a great team!